It was proposed to be the Disney experience without the Mickey Mouse: EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, where the most advanced and beneficial urban technologies would be placed at the service of its residents, creating a model for future cities.

That utopian plan was eventually scrapped, but many of the technologies envisioned - from the use of solar energy and moving walkways to underground, out-of-sight roads for garbage and delivery trucks - are now part of the 43-square-mile Disney World complex in central Florida.

Epcot Center, which opened just a year ago, is indeed like a small city, though no one actually lives there. Its scores of shops, restaurants, theaters, exhibit halls, gardens, courtyards and walkways are scattered over 260 acres. Water taxis traverse a lagoon in the center of the city; double-decker buses rumble around its rim; an elevated monorail track loops around half of the acreage. About 55,000 people visit Epcot each day. […]